The National League playoff races are taking shape as the season heads to mid August. The NL Central is turning into a great race between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds will try to extend their current 2 ½ game lead over the Pirates when they face the Chicago Cubs tonight at Wrigley field. The Reds however, have been mired in a losing streak that now sits at four games. They were just swept by the Milwaukee Brewers and head to Chicago looking to turn things around
The Cubs are doing even worse than the Reds. Currently, Chicago is amidst an eight game losing streak and has seen their record drop to 43-66. They currently are 22 games behind the Reds whose record sits at 66-45. The two teams will play 8 games against one another over the next week and a half. Thus far, in the season, the teams have only played five times head to head and the Reds lead the series 3-2.
Tonight Chicago sends Chris Volstad to face the Reds. The recently recalled Volstad is 0-8 this season with a 7.22 ERA. He was called up last week from the Cubs’ Triple A team. In his first appearance back in the big leagues, he gave up just two runs over seven innings but received no run support from his teammates and lost 3-1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Over his last 21 starts, dating back to last season, Volstad is 0-13.
The Reds will look to Mike Leake to help them snap their losing streak. Leake has a season record of 4-7 with a 4.51 ERA. However, against the Cubs in his career, Leake is 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA. Earlier this season he pitched against the Cubs and struggled. He allowed five runs on 10 hits in only 5 2/3 innings to absorb the loss 6-1.
Tonight’s current line has the Reds favored at -140 and the Cubs at +130. The total has not been released. The Reds will snap their streak tonight with a win. Take Cincinnati to win in a high scoring game.